As the Indian government grapples with the aftermath of the brutal anti-Muslim riots in the country’s biggest city, Mumbai, some of its most prominent citizens are seeking to evade scrutiny.
On Friday, several members of the ruling Congress party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were seen leaving the country without any documents.
The party, which is backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has a large presence in India’s cities, and is considered the most powerful political party in the nation.
As the party continues to hold power, a few members of Modi’s government are increasingly seeking to make inroads in the lucrative Indian passport business.
In May, the BJP won the elections in Uttar Pradesh, the biggest state in the north, where the state government is headed by Nitish Kumar, who is also a politician and former minister.
The BJP won 16 of the 22 seats in Uttar, including seven seats held by the Congress party.
In addition, the party gained five seats in Maharashtra, including one in the eastern state of Gujarat.
Modi has been criticised for not doing enough to prevent the riots, which killed nearly 1,000 people in Mumbai in May.
However, the attacks on Muslims by mobs triggered a wave of violence in the capital, and police arrested hundreds of people.
The rioting has since led to hundreds of thousands of displaced people, who have been locked in camps in Mumbai’s slums.
On Thursday, the UPA government announced it would launch a nationwide crackdown on fake Indian passports, including issuing fake passports for people who were already in the US.
The move came as a response to the recent arrest of a member of the Modi government for attempting to enter the US with a fake identity, the Associated Press reported.
Since then, the US has also issued more than 2,300 fake Indian documents, according to a Washington Post report.
The US has the second-highest number of fake Indian citizens in the world after India, the report added.
The United Nations estimates more than 30,000 Indians are currently living in the United States, mostly in California, New York and Texas, where they have been granted citizenship.
The United States is a key transit point for hundreds of millions of immigrants seeking to get to the US from countries like India and China, which account for a large part of its global economy.
The Indian government has stepped up its enforcement of immigration laws to crack down on visa fraud, but the number of cases involving fake passports has also increased.
In June, police in the southern Indian state of Kerala detained a 22-year-old man who was allegedly trying to enter India with a counterfeit Indian passport.
He was charged with attempting to use forged identity documents to get admission to India and was released on bail.
In August, a 25-year old man was arrested for trying to get into India with fake passports, according a Reuters report.
The arrests came days after Modi, who took office in May, was seen at a rally in New Delhi carrying a fake Indian passport with a photograph of himself and other prominent leaders.
The prime minister said the photo was a fake and that the passport was fake because it had been produced by a foreign company.
He also accused India’s intelligence services of spying on him.
While Modi has made it a priority to crack the fake passport racket, the government is not doing much to crack its crackdown on fraudulent immigration documents.
The UPA had set up a special committee, headed by former Indian diplomat Sanjay Kumar, to look into fake Indian citizenship applications.
But Kumar did not respond to requests for comment.
In May, Kumar’s committee submitted its report to the government, which has yet to act on it.